|55% of precious stones exported to Japan
Fifty years of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan will be celebrated on a grand scale in Japan next September, says a press release. It will be a complete Sri Lanka show focusing on the countrys rich heritage, culture and handicrafts. The event is organized by the Sri Lanka mission in Tokyo with assistance from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Sri Lanka Tourist Board and the Export Development Board (EDB).
Nilam Alwdeen, Partner, Sri Lanka Jewellery Ltd., has extended his support to organize a Sri Lankan Gem and Jewellery show at Hilton, Tokyo to coincide with the celebrations. He invited Kazuo Ogawa, President of Taj Enterprises, Tokyo, Japan and Managing director Atal Parekh to address a recent seminar on "Designing Jewellery for the Japanese Market" organized by the EDB.
It was important that Sri Lankan Jewellers organise a suitable collection for the show, said Felix Yahampath, Chairman EDB thanking Alwdeen for his assistance in organising the show and obtaining the services of the experts to address the seminar. The Japanese market is important to Sri Lanka as nearly 55% of Sri Lankan precious stones are exported to Japan. With the interest in gems, a considerable interest has also been generated on jewellery as well. Japan being a difficult market to penetrate, it requires a concerted effort over a period of time to strengthen the Sri Lankas position in the Japanese market," he said.
"This will be a good opportunity for Sri Lankan jewellers to present their collections with an identity of their own," said Ogawa, addressing the seminar. One of the major drawbacks in Sri Lankan jewellery is not having an identity of their own. They are mostly based on the tastes of the European market, he said.
Lankan jewellery will have an important place at the celebrations and we look forward to seeing the Sri Lankan identity from Japanese eyes, Ogawa said. Sri Lanka has a wide array of natural stones which can be used in the making of jewellery, he observed.
Ogawa made a video presentation on the designs made by the South African designers for the Japanese market. They had the unmistakable African identity. He said Sri Lankan designers could get an idea how the South African identity has influenced the Japanese market. Similarly, designers of Sri Lanka could draw inspiration from the rich culture of Sri Lanka to produce jewellery with a distinct Sri Lankan identity.
The celebrations will also have fashion shows for the apparel sector which may display jewellery on models. Fashion shows are a helpful way to create an impression of a countrys identity, philosophy, culture, resources and designs.
The Japanese market is gradually recovering from the recessions and exports to Japan are also picking up. Ogawa said the target group for local jewellers should be the high income group. There is more potential among the slightly higher age group. They go for famous brands. The Japanese are very sensitive and quality conscious.
Sri Lanka should draw up a new plan to focus on high quality. Awareness programmes should be organized to educate the designers. Media can play a role through creating a commercial interest. They could set the trends in the minds of people. Distribution channels and retailers should be aware of fashion trends, the release further said.
Fifteen jewellery designers took part in a recent show on South African jewellery held in Japan. This had a great impact. The forthcoming celebrations will provide Sri Lankan designers too an opportunity to focus on the Sri Lankan identity in one show, on one platform. Historical jewellery to contemporary jewellery can be depicted through models. This could help to build a Sri Lankan identity not only in Japan, but also internationally, it added. Alawdeen explained the proposed programmes of celebrations. Parekh made a presentation on designing for the Japanese market.
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